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Pet Obesity Is the ‘Greatest Health Threat’ for US Pets

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It affects more than half of cats and dogs.

Nearly 54 percent of dogs and 59 percent of cats in the U.S. are overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

“Obesity continues to be the greatest health threat to dogs and cats,” said Dr. Ernie Ward, a veterinarian who is founder of APOP. “Obesity is a disease that kills millions of pets prematurely, creates immeasurable pain and suffering, and costs pet owners tens of millions of dollars in avoidable medical costs.”

In a recent clinical survey, 53.9 percent of dogs and 58.9 percent of cats were classified as overweight or obese by their veterinary healthcare professional. That equates to an estimated 41.9 million dogs and 50.5 million cats that are too heavy, based on 2016 pet population projections from the American Pet Products Association. In 2015, APOP found that 53.8 percent of dogs and 58.2 percent of cats were overweight or obese.

Pet owners and veterinary professionals were questioned about pet obesity, diet and nutrition, and sources of pet food advice. Quality was the primary influence when purchasing pet food by over 80 percent of pet owners and 82 percent of veterinary staff. 

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Only 42 percent of pet owners agreed their veterinarian should recommend a maintenance diet, compared to over 64 percent of veterinarians.

Read more from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention

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